And much is known about the Prime Minister’s ongoing efforts to marginalize these two gentlemen.
As recently as the Labour Party’s last Executive Meeting, in addition to claiming (and I’m paraphrasing) that the fiscal situation had now eased up somewhat and that funds ( I can’t vouch for their origin) will be accessible to use for political gain, Dr. Douglas said that those individuals who were not with his program (referring to Mr. Condor and Dr. Harris) will be cut, and he’ll be moving on with others.
So the situation can’t be any clearer.
This drama is entering its final act, and like Macbeth, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Othello, King Lear, and others among William Shakespeare’s 38 plays, its outcome will depend heavily on its major players, namely, Dr. Douglas, Mr. Condor and Dr. Harris.
Dr. Douglas will want to give the impression that he sincerely wants to sort out the difficulties between himself and his two colleagues, and that he has tried everything to prevent total fallout.
So if such fallout does occur, he’ll want to blame them.
He’ ll even go through the motions and call for a Cabinet retreat and even a Party retreat( as has happened a number of times in the past), knowing that the dye is well cast and that he wants them gone as much as they want him gone.
He’ll look to bring in a current or former regional leader such as St. Vincent & The Grenadines’ Ralph Gonsalves, Guyana’s Bharat Jagdeo, or Jamaica’s P.J. Patterson, to mediate.
He might even agree to someone less connected to him, because he has no intention of accommodating any approach other than his own anyway. So that’ll be nothing more than a talk shop. Especially given his perception that he has enough Executive and other Party members, and movers and shakers outside of the Party hierarchy, under his control or on his side.
He’s also banking on Messrs. Condor and Harris to cave in. Because, based on past experiences, he doesn’t believe that they have the guts, or the commitment, or the political support to stand up to him in open battle.
This is a drama which Shakespeare might’ve loved to write.
And while the two ministers may be presently pondering their strategy, Dr. Douglas has already begun to implement his.
In addition to what’s mentioned above, he’s making preparations for the next general elections, and searching for candidates to replace them in Constituencies 3 and 6 respectively. He’s discussing the best possible Constituency boundary realignments with his inner circle, assessing voter and other electoral issues, and looking to cherry-pick followers of Messrs. Condor and Harris so as to steal their power bases and totally neutralize them politically. He has checked the relevant bank accounts and all is okay in that department, but he’ll be on the prowl for more, because money seems to make the campaign mare run faster and better.
And make no mistake. He’s visualizing the mother of campaigns, with more glitz, glamour, music, hype and largesse than all in the past elections combined.
Strategic Communications Laboratory (SCL) is at the ready. SIDF dollars are available. And so on.
He feels that in his bid for re-election to a fifth term( with respect, the thought of that, for any leader in this day and age, is nauseating)he’ll be helped by the land-for-debt swap with the National Bank, which, in one fell swoop, will extinguish the Government’s debt of $1.2 billion to the Bank and reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio from 200% to about 130%.
He’ll think that the people of this country won’t know, and won’t bother themselves with, the implications and underlying challenges to our nation’s and our sub-region’s financial sector. And that he’ll be seen as a magician, as he seeks to remove the national debt and the debt restructuring situation from the political debate.
These things, together with a little tweak or ease-up here or there in a tax or a charge, a new version of the ‘YES’ Program, and his confidence that he can fool and suppress the people of this country yet again, will urge his lips to declare once : ”It’s working!”
Meanwhile, his mouthpieces in the social media and elsewhere have stepped up their hostile rhetoric against Messrs. Condor and Harris, as he prepares to deliver the coup de grace during, or shortly after, the Labour Party Conference in May.
He’ll expect to be put up, once again, for the Party’s leadership, unchallenged, after which he would beat his chest and ‘go on bad’, as he did last year, but this time much worse.
However, he’s also preparing for a challenge from either Mr. Condor or Dr. Harris, just in case.
If Mr. Condor challenges him, he’ll deal with him in one way. If Dr. Harris does, he’ll try to push a wedge between the supporters of the two gentlemen, as he paints Dr. Harris as being overly ambitious and disrespectful of Mr. Condor’s seniority.
Either way, he believes that he can take the Party successfully through an election, even after a fractious Conference in May. Because, among other things, shortly after the Conference, with the Condor or Harris ‘defeated’ he’d make sure that the people of West Farm/Boyds/Palmetto Point get their long-awaited play field, and that both Constituencies 3 and 7 are sufficiently buttered and sweetened up so that they’ll forget that Mr. Condor and Dr. Harris ever existed.
And as he’s putting all of that butter and sugar in those two Constituencies, he’ll blame the two gentlemen for not having delivered the playfield and other goodies.
So what should they do?
They already know what’s happening. So they must act.
They should work together, and one of them should challenge for the Party leadership at the upcoming Conference, fully endorsed by the other. And they should also try to get their sympathizers and supporters within the Party elected to as many the Executive positions as possible.
In pursuance of this, they must canvass supporters who’re potential Conference attendees from all of the Constituencies, to give them assurances and to get their support, and to convince them of the good that will come to the Labour Party and the country by voting Dr. Douglas out.
They must also insist that every Constituency brings the same number of delegates to the Conference, and they must demand a private, ballot poll, with voting booths and all.
If the challenge succeeds, then right there and then, a breath of fresh air and fresh integrity will blow through the Labour Party, marking the beginning of its redemption and healing process.
And immediately the general public learns of their effort to unseat Dr. Douglas, there’ll be a massive burst of positive energy and support for them from voices which thus far have remained silent, and from all parts of the political spectrum.
Indeed, support will be indicated from persons and interests overseas.
However, as we’re well aware, rigging can take place. And if the bid to unseat Dr. Douglas at the Conference fails, then Mr. Condor and Dr. Harris should: (a) make a public announcement that the Labour Party has been gutted and compromised; (b) state that the country is in a leadership and credibility crisis which will never be resolved as long as Dr. Douglas remains as Prime Minister; and (c) inform the country that they’re crossing the floor of Parliament as Independent-Labour members, that they’ll take every legal measure to remove Dr. Douglas as the Prime Minister, and that then and only then will Labour be able to reclaim its integrity and dignity, and that with Dr. Douglas gone, they’ll put themselves up for election as Leader and Deputy Leader respectively of the Party.
Once the two gentlemen decide to cross the floor of Parliament, they’ll have a conversation with the Governor-General. At that point, Dr. Douglas will, at best, be heading up a minority Government, enormously vulnerable to a vote of no confidence.
And if he tries to buy time by not having sittings of Parliament, then he’ll be buying trouble for himself and for others, because the entire country will be frustrated and a terrible message would be sent abroad.
Further, if he adds senators to his side in an effort to further marginalize Mr. Condor and Dr. Harris( and he’s been contemplating this), it’ll have no effect if a no confidence motion is raised in Parliament, because only elected members can vote on that and all they’d need is a simple majority.
Mr. Condor and Dr. Harris will also have conversations with the various social and economic interest groups in St Kitts & Nevis, as they prepare themselves and the country for the final act in the drama of getting Dr. Douglas out of office.
And one expects that these interest groups will cooperate with them, for the good of the country.
The situation will lead fairly quickly to an election in which Messrs. Condor and Harris will run as Independent Labour candidates. And they’ll receive strong support in the election, as many people still want them to be involved in the leadership of this country, and will feel that at this time they should still be involved, minus Dr. Douglas.
If Mr. Condor and Dr. Harris fail to act now, they’ll be pushed aside and out, regarded as weaklings, and condemned to the pathos of being classified as mere footnotes in the modern history of St.Kitts & Nevis.
They really need to rise to the occasion to rescue the Labour Party and the country at this time of greatest need and urgency
They must get out of their own skins, see themselves as nothing else but vessels of absolutely necessary change which the country needs, and submit themselves entirely to the process.
They must, as Jesus had to do, ‘drink of this cup’.
This is their chance, perhaps their last chance.
The final act of the drama.
How it plays out will depend, and reflect, on these three gentlemen. And, of course, on the rest of us.
God help St.Kitts & Nevis.